Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ikkuma Boost Review

Earlier this week I wasn't feeling very well so I stayed home for the day. Not having planned for such occasion, I had little in terms of groceries at home so I was forced to go out and get something for lunch and dinner. While at LobLaws, I came across a few unfamiliar cans in the soft drinks isle - Ikkuma Boost. I had never heard of this drink before so like any good review blogger, I got a can to try.

What is Ikkuma?

I normally launch right into the review and write about flavor and energy, but this time I wanted to add a little intro section that explains what Ikkuma is, because I had some troubles getting answers at the grocery store.

Ikkuma is a yerba mate-based beverage with added ginseng and guarana, and sweetened with organic cane sugar. There are some other ingredients for color and freshness, but nothing crazy or bad that jumps out at me. Ikkuma is a Quebec-based company, which would explain why French takes the front seat everywhere on this label, for those who are wondering (I also wondered until I read a bit more about the company).

In addition to the Boost variety, there is also Chill, which is the anti-energy drink made by Ikkuma. Unfortunately there were only cans of Boost at LobLaws, but now that I know about Ikkuma, I will be on the lookout for the Chill.


Ikkuma Boost came in only one flavor - raspberry citrus. The beverage has a cloudy orange color and oddly enough smells like a carrot/citrus/tropical fruits V8 blend. The flavor is odd and multi-layered. You get an initial wave of the carrot-like flavor, which quickly turns into an earthier, yerba mate-like flavor, followed by trace amounts of slightly bitter ginseng and finally some a mild citrus note with a sweet raspberry finish.

The aftertaste is dry, earthy, and interestingly enjoyable with lingering subtle sweet raspberry notes. It is amazing how quickly the odd initial flavor is cleaned up by the finishing citrus/raspberry combo.

I am on the fence with this one. On one hand I do like the slightly bitter yerba mate/ginseng combo with a subtle fruity finish, but on the other I find the aroma and initial flavor to be a bit of a turn off. This is one of those drinks that you will either love or hate and if you like straight yerba mate, you will definitely like this. If you cannot handle pure yerba mate, you will not like this.


When I picked up the can, I wasn't expecting a lot of caffeine as I thought that this will be one of those drinks that gives you energy from vitamins, but to my surprise, there are 110 mg of caffeine in the can.

The energy comes in in rough stages. About 10 minutes after I consumed the first 1/3 of the can, I felt instantly energized. One moment I was feeling normal and then energized. There was no gradual change!

The instant energy was followed by a very mild case of jitters before the caffeine had fully kicked in not too long after. The caffeine kick was clean without any jitters or odd complications.

The kick lasted for about 2-2.5 hours and it ended on a clean slate without a crash.

Cost - $2.24 on sale at LobLaws
Taste - 6.5/10
Energy - 6.8/10

Overall - 13.3/20...a new "love-it or hate-it" energy drink with a pretty decent kick

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Red Bull The Orange Edition Review

The Orange Edition Red Bull comes to us thanks to a synchronized release across the US and Canadian markets and I am very glad to see this. Normally I get super jealous when I see our neighbors to the south get new energy drinks, which happens on a weekly basis, and then I get super disappointed when I find out that none of these energy drinks will make it to Canada due to our strict regulations. So yeah, I am very happy to see The Orange Edition available at 7-11 the day after I read a review from its release down south.


This Red Bull has a very pleasant orange/tangerine aroma, though it is heavier on the sweet tangerine flavors than the orange. I thought that the taste was bland at first due to the high level of carbonation but once it died down a bit, I started to taste the sweet tangerine flavors. Towards the finish I also got a whiff of the orange, but what I found strange was the overall lack of bite. Normally orange has a bit of an acidic bite, but it was nowhere to be found in this Orange Edition. The sweet tangerines were a nice touch, but I was expecting the bite and I was a little disappointed.

I should also note that the aftertaste has a sweetener-like note to it. Yes, you get some lingering sweet tangerine notes, but more prominent is the sweetener. I don't remember ever tasting something like this from a Red Bull before so I was a little surprised. To be honest, I prefer the original flavor.


As expected, there are 80 mg of caffeine in the 250 mL can. Maybe that's how the release was simultaneous across US and Canadian markets - all other Red Bulls already sold here have the same active ingredients and concentrations.

The effects are as any other Red Bull - chug it and you get a bit of jitters at first and a wave of rough energy that lasts for about 1.5-2 hours, followed by a mild crash. If you drink it slow, the jitters are less intense, but the overall effects are very similar.

Cost - promotion - 2 for $4 at Canadian Tire gas stations
Taste - 7.2/10
Energy - 6/10

Overall - 13.2/20...interesting new flavor, but I prefer the original

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rockstar Sparkling Energy Drink Cherry Citrus Review

This is the second of the Rockstar Sparkling flavors that made it north across the border to Canada. I picked up a can from the local Shoppers Drug Mart for $3.99...yikes! These energy drinks are getting more and more expensive in Canada.


This Rockstar Sparkling flavor has a very interesting and bang-on aroma - cherry and citrus. Yeah, I know. It is what the label says, but in most cases one is more dominant than the other. However, it is not the case with this one. Both aromas are equally strong and there are no extra notes.

The flavor doesn't come in until after the bubbles have popped. As I mentioned in another review, the Rockstar Sparkling line up is extremely carbonated and not much flavor exists at the start. Once the bubbles pop, you have a cherry forward palate and a long lasting creamy citrus finish. As part of the finish, you also get the standard sweetener trace notes.

I like the creamy finish which gives this drink a unique character, and I think I prefer it over the Sparkling Peach I had last week.


Like the other Rockstar Sparkling, there are 160 mg of caffeine in the can and the effects are a bit slow at the start due to the lack of sugar. It took about 15 minutes for me to start feeling the effects of this drink. After only a few hours of sleep, I woke up a bit tired, but the initial effects of the drink woke me up and I felt pretty good. In another 10 minutes I was starting to feel a bit jittery and 10 minutes after that I felt very energized and just a tiny bit jittery.

The effects lasted for about 3 hours and finished without a crash. 

Cost - $3.99 
Taste - 7.2/10
Energy - 7/10

Overall - 14.2/20...a unique creamy finish, decent, but slow kick

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Rockstar Sparkling Energy Peach Review

Fellow Canadians, rejoice! New caffeinated products have met our strict government regulations and are now available on the market. I found cans of this new Rockstar product hiding in a corner at the local Shoppers Drugmart. These cans were not in the fridges, nor did they have price tags. There were a few open boxes of them tucked in the corner of the building where the fridges meet the back shelves. I wasn't sure what the deal was, but I picked up a few and they were rung up without a problem.

Please note that this product has been available in the US under a different (and more eye-catching label in my opinion) label since early spring 2014.


So what sets Rockstar Sparkling from the standard Rockstar energy drinks? For starters, the Sparkling energy drink is clear. It has no color. Poured in a glass, it looks like a glass of club soda. The flavor is also lighter and there is absolutely no sugar in the drink, unlike some other low calorie energy drinks which do have a few grams of sugar.

Rockstar Sparkling Energy Peach has a pleasant peach aroma that walks that seems both artificial and real. The drink is heavily carbonated and the flavor is lost at first with the multiple bubbles attacking your throat and tongue. Once the bubbles pop, you do taste the peach which seems real at first but soon after you get a dose of the artificial sweeteners and things change. The finish is dry and flavor-wise a combination of your typical sweeteners plus some peach in the background.

Very light overall flavor, very carbonated. I would compare this to mixing a peach flavored vitamin water with club soda and sweeteners.


OK, first off, you need to see the back of this can. Look just at these insane niacin, vitamin B6, B12 and Pantothenic Acid numbers.

Up until recently these numbers were not shown as the ingredients were lumped with all other ones, so not sure if Rockstar drinks have always been like this or if this is the first one. There is nothing wrong with ingesting more than the amount you need. I just find the numbers hilariously large.

There are 160 mg of caffeine in the can, which is in line with other Rockstar energy drinks available in Canada, but way lower than the new sugar-free Rockstars I had the pleasure of trying from Michigan end of last year.

I felt the initial energy effects within 15-20 minutes and they weren't anything to get excited over. I felt physically just a tad bit more energized, but I was still feeling like a mental zombie. Another 10 minutes later, my body was a bit jittery and I could feel the full effects of the caffeine, but my mind was still semi-asleep and unfocused. This was odd as the last few Rockstars I had from the US had a great mental and physical energy kick...or was I in some sort of a zombie state having had more than 8 hours of sleep (so unnatural for me).

In any case, I didn't mentally wake up until another 20 minutes later, just around the time the jitters had subsided. The effects were definitely on the slow side with this one. Overall, the kick lasted for about 2-3 hours and fortunately there was no crash at the end.

Cost - $3.99!!! from Shoppers Drugmart
Taste - 6.8/10
Energy - 7/10

Overall - 13.8/20...very light flavor, highly carbonated with a slow kick

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Red Rain Precipitation Watermelon Energy Drink Review

Well, what do you know, this is the first watermelon flavoured energy drink that has graced the pages of this small blog. Sure I reviewed AriZona Watermelon, BaBoom, and Double Kick all of which are watermelon flavoured, but none were actual energy drinks...this is history in the making guys.


So does it taste lime watermelon? Hell yeah!

The taste is very sweet, yet sour with a nice citric bite at the end that reminds me of the original Red Rain copy of Red Bull, as well as sucking on a hard watermelon Jolly Rancher. The sweetness does build up a little, but thanks to the sour bite, it never reached heights that bothered me so much.


It is time for some copypasta:

"There are 142 mg of caffeine in the can, which is a bit less than 80 mg/250 mL (for those looking to compare the content to a standard 250 mL can of Red Bull).

I was expecting the energy to come in the form of a jittery sugar rush, but fortunately the energy came in gradually with no jitters and even provided me with a period of focus and clarity just like advertised on the front of the can. I was pleasantly surprised by this.

I felt awake about 15 minutes after I gulped half of the can and in another 15 I was feeling great even in the gloomy and rainy Saturday morning. The effects lasted for over a couple of hours and then just started to gradually fade away. There was no crash at the end."

Cost - $0.99
Taste - 8.8/10
Energy - 8/10

Overall - 16.8/20...that was it folks - first watermelon flavoured energy drink on this blog and it was a damn good one

Saturday, January 17, 2015

EBoost Immunity Super Berry Energy Shot

Here is another shot that is not sold in Ontario. You guessed right, I got this when I went to Michigan during the holidays a couple of months ago. I got this from either a Meijer or a WalMart near Auburn Hills. Can't remember which one.

When I first picked up the shot, the label on the side caught my attention, which says this - "Most shots offer harsh caffeine and chemicals that torture our adrenal glans and leave us empty and crashed. With our shot we combined natural green tea extract, vitamins and minerals for a healthy and sustained boost of energy and immunity," After I noticed the type and chuckled to myself for a brief moment (glans?????) I decided that this shot may not be for me as it may not offer any caffeine, but I am glad I decided to read the rest of the label, which did, indeed, list caffeine as a natural ingredient...and there were 150 mg of it. Not bad, but very misleading when you just read the first part of the label. Sure this is natural caffeine from green tea, but I was lead to believe that this is one of those "no caffeine" vitamin shots.


Blaaarrrrghhh. This shot has a very misleading aroma which lead me to believe that the shot will taste like a combination of various sour berries, but it didn't. It was a plasticky (????), coffee, green tea, berry mess with a super bitter finish. Unfortunately you will not know that this shot tastes like this until it is already going down your throat, because it starts off tasting like nice sour apples and berries when it touches your tongue, but immediately after all the other nasty ingredients appear and ruin the whole experience.

That's unfortunate, because I did enjoy some of the other EBoost products.


As I mentioned earlier in the review, there are 150 mg of caffeine and other vitamins, which is the saving grace of this nasty tasting shot. Yes, if you can get past the nasty taste, this shot actually performs great. I don't know if it was from the initial sour hit or the vitamins, but I felt a jolt within minutes of taking the first sip. Within a few more minutes I felt super energized and just a tad jittery, but probably not from the sugar as there is only 4 grams.

The jitters ended rather quickly and then I was just feeling energized for hours. There was no crash at the end just like the label promised. Yuuup, great boost, but awful taste.

Cost - $2
Taste - 2/10
Energy - 8.8/10

Overall - 10.8/20...awful taste, but fantastic boost

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Red Rain Cloudburst Energy Drink Review

This is an old review I never got the chance to publish from the old drafts bin. I originally got this drink from a gas station outside Detroit when I was in Michigan a few weeks ago. The cost? 99 cents as the can says.


For those who want to only read the label, this is supposed to taste like peach grapefruit. Still want to know how it ACTUALLY tastes? Then keep reading below.

Up front I found this to be an unidentifiable mix of citrus with a soft mellow peach note. Give it a moment for the bubbles to settle and the flavours define themselves - peach and a very light grapefruit note. Swallow and give it a moment and this is where the grapefruit flavour really comes out and lingers for a while.

The flavour is very light while drinking, but the aftertaste is very good. I think that if this was turned into a non-carbonated beverage with 5-10% real grapefruit juice, then Red Rain will have a killer product. For now, it is a decent energy drink for those who don't like mellower flavours.


There are 142 mg of caffeine, which is the same as all the other Red Rain drinks from this series. So if you please excuse me, I would like to just re-use some old text from my review of Red Rain Downpour because the effects were the same:

"I was expecting the energy to come in the form of a jittery sugar rush, but fortunately the energy came in gradually with no jitters and even provided me with a period of focus and clarity just like advertised on the front of the can. I was pleasantly surprised by this.

I felt awake about 15 minutes after I gulped half of the can and in another 15 I was feeling great even in the gloomy and rainy Saturday morning. The effects lasted for over a couple of hours and then just started to gradually fade away. There was no crash at the end."

Cost - $0.99
Taste - 8.5/10
Energy - 8/10

Overall - 16.5/20...mellow flavour with a great aftertaste